Project Together

ArtWorks memorial gardenProject Together supports opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to articulate grief at the death of a parent caregiver or a close family member through art making at the University of Arizona ArtWorks Studio. This project aims to enhance, implement and evaluate a 10-week expressive arts curriculum that facilitates a group process working through bereavement. Our approach utilizes expressive arts to remove communicative barriers between persons with different types and levels of disabilities. pave stone in memorial garden for family members who passed awayThrough peer-based, creative interactions, we develop strong and supportive community membership. Presentation of the artists’ works at the University Museum of Art serves to raise community awareness about persons with IDD’s abilities understand, express, feel and process grief. The exhibit also promotes creative arts for ALL people as a viable and accessible mode for personal reflection on the universal experience of grief, for healing and remembering. Sonoran UCEDD received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and Arizona Commission on the Arts for the community implementation; we also received funding and in-kind support from the UA Department of Family & Community Medicine and the UA College of Medicine for the curriculum development and the evaluation. We are in the process of adapting the curriculum, developing the evaluation strategies at this moment. We will start our pilot curriculum implementation in March 2018, and the community implementation in June 2018-July 2019.


For more information, please contact:

UA College of Medicine, Family & Community MedicineYumi Shirai, PhD
Director/Instructor of ArtWorks
Sonoran UCEDD

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